I was reading a piece over at gizmodo about Atlanta’s failure to cope with the winter storm which crushed its infrastructure. The article notes that the problem wasn’t emergency services – it was the utter dependence on the single-occupant car. The failure to provide alternatives makes for very dire situations when the one mode of getting about FAILS. It doesn’t matter what the alternatives are – Public Transit, Bicycle, whatever, but some alternative is necessary. The author – Alissa Walker – then made the most salient point I’ve seen in a while:

“We need to design our cities with our very worst days in mind.”

Which is what we used to do. I’m thinking of cities designed to withstand seiges. Cities with water and food stores. Cities intended to shutter themselves and fend off their worst days. I’m not advocating closing cities, but I think Walker’s point is spot on. We need to think about our vulnerable systems and create alternatives. I do however disagree with the article’s claim that politics are not to blame. No. POLITICS are precisely to blame. The political pressures of car makers, the pressures on planners to provide more space for the car. Cheaper homes, increasingly further from their city cores, serviced by increasingly broad and fast roads to the detriment of all other modes of transit. If that isn’t political, I don’t know what is.

Read more at: It’s Not the Snow, It’s Not the Politics: Blame the Car-Dependent City

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